Rudolf Kempe

Richard Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen [Box Set]

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AllMusic Review by James Leonard

This 1957 Covent Garden Der Ring des Nibelungen led by Rudolf Kempe is a very fine, at times even great, cycle. The cast features the masterful Hans Hotter as Wotan, the heroic Wolfgang Windgassen as Siegfried, and the magnificent Birgit Nilsson as Brünnhilde. A favorite with London audiences and musicians, German conductor Kempe coaxes the best possible playing out of the orchestra, making the most out of the tetralogy's moments of high drama without letting the music lose tension in its extended passages of exposition. Taken on only its own merits, this Ring has much going for it. The end of Das Rheingold is tremendously thrilling; the big climaxes between Siegmund and Sieglinda in Act I of Die Walküre and between Siegfried and Brünnhilde in Act III of Siegfried are both amazingly exhilarating; the sense of momentum in the last two acts of Götterdämmerung is truly involving. Compared to the other great Rings of the '50s -- the 1950 and 1953 Furtwängler, the 1953 Krauss, and the 1956 Knappertsbusch cycles -- Kempe's Ring comes off as dramatically and musically persuasive but nowhere near as overwhelmingly compelling. For dedicated and determined Wagnerians, this 13-disc set may be mandatory listening, but for novice Nibelungens, the Solti Ring remains the best combination of blazing performance and staggering sound.

Track Listing - Disc 7

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Siegfried, opera, WWV 86c
1 Rudolf Kempe 03:34 Amazon
2 Rudolf Kempe 04:13 Amazon
3 Rudolf Kempe 01:41 Amazon
4 Rudolf Kempe 02:16 Amazon
5 Rudolf Kempe 01:24 Amazon
6 Rudolf Kempe 07:52 Amazon
7 Rudolf Kempe 05:20 Amazon
8 Rudolf Kempe 01:24 Amazon
9 Rudolf Kempe 01:43 Amazon
10 Rudolf Kempe 03:44 Amazon
11 Rudolf Kempe 10:22 Amazon
12 Rudolf Kempe 07:26 Amazon
13 Rudolf Kempe 02:59 Amazon
14 Rudolf Kempe 01:03 Amazon
15 Rudolf Kempe 00:27 Amazon
16 Rudolf Kempe 02:56 Amazon
17 Rudolf Kempe 05:02 Amazon
18 Rudolf Kempe 03:15 Amazon
19 Rudolf Kempe 07:42 Amazon
20 Rudolf Kempe 05:57 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 8

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Siegfried, opera, WWV 86c
1 Rudolf Kempe 05:05 Amazon
2 Rudolf Kempe 02:17 Amazon
3 Rudolf Kempe 06:13 Amazon
4 Rudolf Kempe 02:49 Amazon
5 Rudolf Kempe 02:45 Amazon
6 Rudolf Kempe 03:28 Amazon
7 Rudolf Kempe 05:41 Amazon
8 Rudolf Kempe 01:33 Amazon
9 Rudolf Kempe 02:13 Amazon
10 Rudolf Kempe 06:03 Amazon
11 Rudolf Kempe 05:31 Amazon
12 Rudolf Kempe 04:12 Amazon
13 Rudolf Kempe 02:03 Amazon
14 Rudolf Kempe 02:36 Amazon
15 Rudolf Kempe 02:17 Amazon
16 Rudolf Kempe 07:39 Amazon
17 Rudolf Kempe 08:50 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 12

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Die Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods), opera, WWV 86d
1 Rudolf Kempe 03:05 Amazon
2 Rudolf Kempe 10:30 Amazon
3 Rudolf Kempe 04:54 Amazon
4 Rudolf Kempe 02:16 Amazon
5 Rudolf Kempe 03:04 Amazon
6 Rudolf Kempe 02:29 Amazon
7 Rudolf Kempe 01:07 Amazon
8 Rudolf Kempe 01:39 Amazon
9 Rudolf Kempe 04:01 Amazon
10 Rudolf Kempe 02:35 Amazon
11 Rudolf Kempe 06:17 Amazon
12 Rudolf Kempe 02:59 Amazon
13 Rudolf Kempe 03:47 Amazon
14 Rudolf Kempe 02:38 Amazon
15 Rudolf Kempe 03:29 Amazon
16 Rudolf Kempe 05:16 Amazon
17 Rudolf Kempe 02:21 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 13

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Die Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods), opera, WWV 86d
1 Rudolf Kempe 03:12 Amazon
2 Rudolf Kempe 03:55 Amazon
3 Rudolf Kempe 00:37 Amazon
4 Rudolf Kempe 01:08 Amazon
5 Rudolf Kempe 02:51 Amazon
6 Rudolf Kempe 07:05 Amazon
7 Rudolf Kempe 02:17 Amazon
8 Rudolf Kempe 03:51 Amazon
9 Rudolf Kempe 02:22 Amazon
10 Rudolf Kempe 04:52 Amazon
11 Rudolf Kempe 02:51 Amazon
12 Rudolf Kempe 02:05 Amazon
13 Rudolf Kempe 05:34 Amazon
14 Rudolf Kempe 05:41 Amazon
15 Rudolf Kempe 02:42 Amazon
16 Rudolf Kempe 01:57 Amazon
17 Rudolf Kempe 02:48 Amazon
18 Rudolf Kempe 03:13 Amazon
19 Rudolf Kempe 02:17 Amazon
20 Rudolf Kempe 01:58 Amazon
21 Rudolf Kempe 03:25 Amazon
22 Rudolf Kempe 02:08 Amazon
23 Rudolf Kempe 01:19 Amazon
24 Rudolf Kempe 06:26 Amazon
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